I smiled to myself just now while reading the story of Jacob’s dream of a stairway to heaven in chapter 28 of Genesis. When he awoke from sleep, he proclaimed, “Truly the Lord is in this spot although I didn’t know it!…it is the abode of God…the gateway to heaven!” My smile was evoked by long ago memories of junior proms (my own and those of classes when I was teaching) when school gyms were transformed into fairylands with themes like “Stairway to Heaven” – the most popular song of one of those years. Things were simpler “way back when” – in the days when parents were chauffeurs instead of the present-day need for limousines and “after prom parties” consisted of breakfast at Denny’s or just going home to dream of the event that had just taken place. Ah, for the simple life!
Juxtaposed with those images was the deeper sense of wonder at the weekend workshop just concluded at the Spiritual Center. Our land was blessed once again with a group of spiritual seekers who added their participatory energy to the peace that abides here to create an event that could rightly be called a little bit of heaven.
It seems silly, perhaps, to compare those two events but as I ponder the connection I can easily see that it is the energy of the people involved – individually and together – that makes the magic. For teenagers seeking a peak experience of their high school years, prom can be that as long as the goal lies in the pure joy of good relationships (which seems more difficult to achieve sometimes these days). Surely what happens in a weekend such as we just experienced here at our Center is quite different than the rush of teenage partying, but the depth of experience is dependent not only on what is offered to participants but also on the reception by them and the synergy among them in response to what is given. Love is the pulse of it all.
Jacob was so moved by what he knew upon awakening from his dream that he vowed to be faithful to the God he had met there and to make that place his home. May we all be blessed with such experiences of relatedness and a sense of “home” as we journey and recognize God’s presence in all the places where God can truly be found.